South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday re-imposed a night curfew and suspended alcohol sales as coronavirus infections spiked and the health system risked being overwhelmed.
Coronavirus infection numbers had in recent days skyrocketed with at least 12,000 infections recorded daily, translating to around 500 infections every hour, severely straining health care resources.
South Africa is the worst-affected country on the continent with 276,242 registered cases including 4,079 deaths as of Sunday. Ramaphosa warned that the “coronavirus storm” South Africa faced was “far fiercer and more destructive than any we have known before”.
“It is stretching our resources and our resolve to their limits,” he said. “As we head towards the peak of infections, it is vital that we do not burden our clinics and hospitals with alcohol-related injuries that could have been avoided,” Ramaphosa said in a televised address to the nation.